November 7, 2001
Due to winter conditions the Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (DETEC) is anticipating traffic restrictions on routes across the Alps via San Bernardino, the Gotthard pass, Simplon and Grosser St. Bernhard. The use of winter equipment is being imposed on heavy goods vehicles for these stretches. Lorries and trucks which are not suitably equipped will be stopped. The cantons have set up a 24 hour call-out service due to the winter conditions.
Bearing in mind the extraordinary situation on the roads arising from the accident in the Gotthard tunnel, the cantons of Grisons, Uri, Ticino and Vallais have in fact boosted their winter service and set up a 24 hour call-out service. Nevertheless, the winter conditions are likely to lead to problems, particularly on the San Bernardino route and the Gotthard Pass as well as the Simplon and Grosser St. Bernhard routes. The cantons have already announced that restrictions must be expected. More specifically, for reasons of road safety the individual routes are likely to be closed for hours at a time and if there is any additional risk of avalanche, the closure could continue for several days. Based on experience, articulated trucks and lorries with trailers would be the first to be affected. In these cases heavy goods vehicles would be directed into queuing lanes where they would have to wait before continuing their journey. In view of the winter conditions it is recommended that all heavy goods vehicles should as far as possible bypass Switzerland or make use of the improved rail facilities.
Obligatory use of snow chains announced
In the light of further snowfalls, the cantons have introduced further tried and tested measures on the roads in agreement with the Swiss Federal Roads Office. The use of winter equipment (winter tyres, spikes, snow chains) on all routes will be a statutory requirement. In extreme cases the cantonal police authorities will have powers to enforce the use of snow chains. Vehicles which are not suitably equipped will be stopped and will have to wait until such time as road conditions allow the journey to be continued safely. The Federal Government has requested the cantons to closely examine and implement the appropriate regulations.
Berne, 7 November 2001.
(DETEC) Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication
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